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Disney announces deal with Colin Kaepernick for ESPN documentary

July 6 (UPI) — The Walt Disney Co. on Monday announced a partnership between ESPN Films and Colin Kaepernick for an exclusive documentary series on the former NFL player’s football career and racial activism.

The deal between Kaepernick’s production arm, Ra Vision Media, and Disney will tell “scripted and unscripted stories that explore race, social injustice and the quest for equity,” a statement from ESPN said.

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The partnership also will showcase the work of minority directors and producers.

“During this unprecedented time, The Walt Disney Co. remains committed to creating diverse and inclusive content that resonates and matters,” said Bob Iger, Disney’s executive chairman in a statement.

“Colin’s experience gives him a unique perspective on the intersection of sports, culture and race, which will undoubtedly create compelling stories that will educate, enlighten and entertain, and we look forward to working with him on this important collaboration.”

The project will extend across all Disney platforms, including Walt Disney Television, ESPN, Hulu, Pixar and The Undefeated, a series that showcases race in professional sports, the company said.

One of the project’s producers will be Jemele Hill, who formerly worked with ESPN and The Undefeated. The first-look series will feature unpublished footage from Kaepernick’s football career and his activism, the company said.

“I am excited to announce this historic partnership with Disney across all of its platforms to elevate Black and Brown directors, creators, storytellers, and producers, and to inspire the youth with compelling and authentic perspectives,” Kaepernick said in a statement.

“I look forward to sharing the docuseries on my life story, in addition to many other culturally impactful projects we are developing.”

“Colin has had a singular path as both an athlete and an activist, and, as the nation continues to confront racism and social injustice, it feels particularly relevant to hear Colin’s voice on his evolution and motivations,” Jimmy Piatro, ESPN’s president,told Variety.

Kaepernick played quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers until controversy erupted when he knelt during the 2016 season during the National Anthem to protest police violence against African Americans. Kaepernick became a free agent in 2017.

Kaepernick complained that he was blackballed by the National Football League and moved forward with philanthropic and media projects. He became a corporate spokesman for Nike in 2018.

But after protests over the Memorial Day police-involved death of George Floyd, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell put out a video saying “we were wrong” for not listening to NFL players earlier who were protesting police brutality.

Goodell in June urged NFL teams to consider rehiring Kaepernick and said that the league welcomed him to “help” and “guide” the NFL on social issues. The league has committed $ 250 million per year over 10 years to address racism in sports, the NFL said.

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